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Americans rendered personae non gratae

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An infection somewhere is an infection everywhere. America continues to disappoint the world, with an ineffectual and erratic, hit-and-miss and hit-and-run, national response to COVID-19. Add to this scenario an increasingly alarming situation, where a self-obsessed Commander-in-Chief and self-described, COVID-19-war-time-president, is playing a childish non-stop-game of blind-man’s-bluff, with the plague. To anyone but the obtuse, it is more than obvious that the US, is the weakest link in the chain, in the tug-of-war, against the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The status quo did not have to be this backward and ridiculous. Not only is the US the wealthiest country in the world, but it is also home to an impressive brain-trust repository in the scientific arena. This gives credence to the well-founded notion that the nation ranks among the most technologically and medically advanced countries on the planet. Hitherto, regions, blocs and nations of the world have benefited from the expansive armoire of US intellectual and material capital and assets.

The same is true of the super-power’s proven ability to deliver international solutions; using a wide array of formidable human skills-sets, complex programming and advanced macro-logistics modalities. This has been especially true in challenging and perilous situations, where such global support and partnership was valued and made a difference. In these instances, the US frequently assumed an impactful role in the struggle for positive outcomes.

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The scourge sweeping the globe has caused widespread fatalities and concomitant deleterious effects on health. The disease is, at the same time, contributing significantly towards universal economic uncertainty and downturns.

The US has had a solid reputation for projecting presidential and governmental leadership that embodies good-faith, competence and diligence. However, these attributes have been jettisoned and out-rightly devalued by the Trump administration. This is glaringly apparent in the present global COVID-19 pandemonium. The spread of the virus is out-of-control in the US.

The country leads the world in the number of infections and is the global epicenter in its unhindered spread. This situation would have beggared belief, and been deemed unimaginable, before the advent of the current government-in-power. Although the US lies at the bottom of the barrel in containing the spread of the virus, there are no concrete signs of a change of trajectory. Instead, the official government position is a steadfast denial of the daily record-breaking rates of infection and a self-serving, primitive rejection of science-based methods in flattening the curve. Trump has joined forces with a vicious, relentless and merciless killer-virus.

Time and time again, he has taken the side of this enemy against the citizenry. His turning a blind eye has resulted in a refusal to allow a determination of the presence and prevalence of the virus through ramped-up, wide-spread testing of the populace. At the same time, he is organizing super-spreader events, within the country, in cruel and callous defiance of the medical experts.

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Furthermore, he has ingloriously surrendered, by declaring a false victory, despite the uncontested fact that the virus is aggressively resurging widely. Trump’s COVID-19 road map of utter chaos, negligent mismanagement and an ignominious capitulation has catapulted the US into the leading epicenter of the world for COVID-19 cases. The resulting EU travel ban to the territory, in effect, relegates the US to the status of a basket case in the fight against the virus. Under Trump, the nation has been dragged down unceremoniously from its lofty, ‘primus inter pares’ perch, and travellers from the US are now considered to be ‘personae non-gratae’. The EU is totally justified in imposing the ban.

Trump and his enablers have given non-stop aid and succor to the killer-virus, waging war against all humanity. This assertion is further borne out by his tyrannical threats to starve the World Health Organization of funds and withdraw US membership from the body. His foolhardy recalcitrance is emerging at a time when the global health agency is working its hardest, to coordinate efforts in the fight against a common enemy- COVID-19. Most of the world seeks to elevate a science-led approach in grappling with the multi-layered crises; in contradistinction, the US approach is to engage in complete abandonment of critical scientific data and best practices. Alarmingly, the Trump administration is in the process of severing ties with its leading scientists and epidemiologists in deference to political solutions, which they hope will grist the Trump reelection machinery.

As parts of the world contemplate ways to reopen their borders to international traffic, Canada and the Bahamas have disqualified travelers from the US. The greatest opprobrium may yet be if the growing ban is adopted by countries, Trump claimed were responsible for bringing disease to the US; and if the embargo is further amplified by other nations that he called s***hole countries.

Ms Fowler is an international lawyer (LL.M Harvard) and human rights advocate. She is a regular contributor to the Global Policy Institute Blog at the Loyola Marymount University, California and Op-Ed news Pennsylvania. Her work has also appeared in The Hill, Washington DC and Women in leadership London UK, among others.

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